JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney Jr. is asking for the Home 1 Great Stay motel on Harts Road to close by Monday, he announced in a passionate press conference Saturday.
Gaffney called the press conference after he says the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office informed him that a dead body had been found at the hotel.
Later in the press conference, Gaffney said that the death was not a homicide. However, he believes it is a symptom of a larger safety problem at this hotel.
"It's been two to three deaths already this year. One is too many. Enough is enough," he said.
He said that police have said they're "working on it," but he believes the crime is related to a gang problem.
The only way to fix the problem, he said, is to demolish the motel.
Gaffney said he received at least 15 calls about the incident Saturday.
The Home 1 Great Stay was previously called the Gold Rush Inn. For what some community members say has been decades, the hotel has been a problem in the community.
The Gold Rush Inn closed in December 2020 when an "emergency closure" was ordered after several deadly shootings. The elder Gaffney, Reggie Gaffney Jr.'s father, was the representative for the area at the time. He called the hotel's closing a "Christmas present" for the area.
In the 2020 emergency order, the state said the hotel had shown quote “abject disregard” for the health and safety of its guests. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that in the three months prior to the order, it received nearly 200 calls for service.
But it reopened again under a new name, and crime has returned to the area. In October, a deadly shooting at the hotel prompted Gaffney's father to have a similar press conference calling for the motel's closure, but it never came to fruition.
First Coast News has reached out to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for more information and we are waiting to hear back.